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Water, Sky, and Textile Reflections

A study of an ancient French monastery

By: Judith M. McLean

Mont Saint-Michel in Spring, 27" x 37", #3- and 6-cut wool on rug warp. Designed and hooked by Judith McLean, Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, 2013.

Anyone who has ever viewed Mont Saint-Michel on France’s northwestern coast cannot help but be in awe of this wonderful medieval architecture built so the rock on which it perches becomes nearly an island at the high tide. When the water again rushes out, marshy meadows appear. What better place to build a strategic medieval fortification that walls itself off during the incoming tide and entraps would-be assailants?

Built in the eighth century A.D., the feudal fortress and monastery have descending stone streets to the chapels, shops, dwellings, and great halls below. At the base and outside the walls are huts of the fishermen. But the best part is seeing the overhead skies and the reflection of the abbey in the tidal marsh water and in the nearby Couesnon River. This is what I resolved to capture from my trip to France.

This article is from the September/October 2015 issue. For more information on our issue, check out our issue page.

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